The Brainerd Lakes area does offer anglers some good smallmouth bass fishing, although, there aren’t too many lakes that have good numbers of these fish. Mille Lacs Lake is fairly close that many bass anglers will head over there for a day or two. On guided fishing trips, double digit days are fairly common on Mille Lacs Lake. Fish in the 2 to 3 pound range are common and big bass up to 6 pounds are reported here too. Some of the other lakes in the Brainerd area that are good for smallmouth bass are Lake Hubert, Rice Lake, Lake Alexander and Clearwater Lake.
Clearwater Lake is 880 acres and is located about four miles south of Deerwood in Crow Wing County. Maximum depth is 54 feet and 29 % of the lake is 15 feet deep or less. There are good numbers of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in Clearwater Lake. Most of the lakes in the Brainerd area do not offer smallmouth bass fishing, so the smallmouth fishery is definitely unique to this area. There are catchable numbers of walleye and northern pike in this lake with some big pike in here too. Other fish include bluegill, crappie, rock bass and perch.
Horseshoe (Sandbar) Lake is an 888 acre lake located in Crow Wing County 7 miles south of Crosslake. A public access is located on the south side of the east basin. Northern pike are available in good numbers with some big fish here too. Largemouth bass and sunfish are targeted here by many anglers. Walleye are here in limited numbers. Other fish include bluegill, crappie, perch, rock bass and smallmouth bass.
Hubert Lake is 1,294 acres in size and is located one mile southeast of Nisswa in Crow Wing County. A public access is located on the west side of the lake. This lake has a maximum depth of 83 feet and 36% of the lake is 15 feet deep or less. The lake is heavily developed with lots of homes and several resorts. This lake has been known as a quality bass lake with pretty good fishing for walleye and northern pike too. Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are available in good numbers in this lake with many quality-sized fish available. Other fish include bluegill, crappie, rock bass and perch.
Rice Lake is a 434-acre reservoir located on the northeast side of Brainerd in Crow Wing County. The dam is 0.5 miles downstream from the state highway 25 (Mill Avenue) bridge. A public access is located on the south side of Rice Lake, in Lum Park. Rice lake has a maximum depth of 25 feet and 47% of the lake is 15 feet deep or less. This lake has a variety of fish that you can target and catch. Northern pike, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are consistently caught in Rice Lake. Walleye get plenty of attention on this lake as well, although, there aren’t huge numbers of walleye here. Other fish include bluegill, crappie, rock bass and perch.
Serpent lake is a 1,057 acre lake located between the towns of Crosby and Deerwood. There are two public accesses, one on the east shore and one on the northwest. The lake is heavily developed and it has a maximum depth is 65 feet. This lake offers anglers a variety of species to target. You will find catchable numbers of walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass. There are good numbers of largemouth bass in the lake. Other fish include bluegill, crappie, rock bass and perch.
Best Baits for Smallmouth Bass
When it comes to artificial lures, you have lots of options. Soft plastic crayfish, twin tail grubs, worms and minnow baits are very effective. Hard baits such as crankbaits, jerkbaits and spinners also work great.
With so many different soft plastics to use, you have so many different rigs that work great for smallmouth bass. The drop shot rig, a simple jighead, standup jigheads and scrounger jigheads are some of the best rigs for smallmouth bass. To see our full list, take a look at our best rigs for smallmouth bass page.
There are so many different techniques you can use for smallmouth bass since they can be found shallow, deep and anywhere in between. Anglers usually cast for them, but jigging, drop shotting and drifting are also some great techniques for smallmouth bass.
To learn more, take a look at our best techniques for smallmouth bass page.
Our smallmouth bass fishing section has tons of tips on the best lures, live baits, where to catch them and how to catch them.